Sony DSC-M2 Review

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-M2

Record Mode Screens & Menus

Sony CyberShot DSC-M2

The screen display when in the AUTO (point-n-shoot) mode. Minimal information is displayed and only a few parameters such as image size or recording mode can be changed. Upper left is the battery level and remaining time in minutes that's constantly displayed, to its right are indicators for the recording folder (101), and that minimized copies of captured images will be saved to the M2's Album. Whenever the zoom setting is changed, the sliding gauge below the battery icon is displayed briefly; to its right is the indicator for Macro mode. In the center are the AF target marks. The lower left displays the still image information, including size ("5M"egapixels), normal (single image) recording mode and the remaining number of images that can be recorded on the Memory Stick Duo. The lower right displays the moving image information, including movie size (640 30fps), the amount of recording time remaining on the Memory Stick Duo, and the movie recording mode (continuous).

Sony DSC-M2

The camera mode is selected from the first option in the menu: Auto, Program, Magnifying Glass (super closeup mode), Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape, Snow, Beach, High Speed Shutter, Fireworks and Candle.

Sony CyberShot DSC-M2

Program AE mode is also automatic but it offers the user a wealth of settable options. The white balance set to incandescent, ISO speed to 64, spot metering, the color saturation, contrast and sharpness are on the "+" setting, and more. All of this information can be cleared off the screen by pressing the Monitor button on the left side of the LCD. Pressing the Monitor button will also enable the live histogram display.

Sony CyberShot DSC-M2

Half-pressing the PHOTO shutter button will activate the autofocus system; if successful it displays a green "OK" dot and the AF target marks turn green and the shutter speed and aperture values are shown at the bottom.

Sony DSC-M2

The Image Size menu is called-up by depressing the Image Size button just above the MENU button. As with all menus on this hybrid camera, Image Size contains settings for both still and moving image captures; use the left and right buttons of the 4-way controller to select still or movie settings:

  • Still: 5M, 3:2 (for perfect 4x6" size prints), 3M, 1M, VGA
  • Movie: 640 (x480) 30fps, 320 (x240) 30fps, 320 (x240) 15fps
  • The menu displays the remaining number of shots or movie recording time for each selection.

    Sony DSC-M2

    Like the Image Size menu, the Record menu integrates settings for both still and moving image modes. A PHOTO/MOVIE indicator to the lower right of the menu option indicates whether it is applicable to still, movie, or both. The Record options (other than Auto mode):

      Camera - Select the still image exposure mode from:
      Auto, Program, Magnifying Glass (super closeup mode), Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape, Snow, Beach, High Speed Shutter, Fireworks and Candle.

      Exposure Compensation - Offset the exposure metering by ±2.0EV in 1/3EV steps

      Focus - Multi AF, Center AF, Spot AF or focus fixed at 0.5m, 1m, 3m, 7m or infinity

      Metering - Multi-pattern (default) or Spot

      White Balance - Auto, Sunny, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Flash

      ISO - Auto or manually locked at 64, 100, 200, 400

      Picture Quality - Fine or Standard

      Record Mode - Normal, Speed Burst, Exposure Bracketing or Multi Burst
      (The MultiBurst mode lets you record sixteen frames at high speed. The capture rate is selectable for 7.5fps, 15fps or 30fps via the menu. These 320x240 images are merged into one 1280x960 finished image. When the image is played in-camera it is animated in sequence.)

      Burst Rate - 7.5/15/30 frames per second (only when Multi Burst is active)

      Bracket Step - 0.3, 0.7 or 1.0EV (only when Bracketing is active)

      Flash Level - High, Normal or Low

      Picture Effect - None, Sepia or B&W

      Saturation - Default is 0 but may be + or -

      Contrast - Default is 0 but may be + or -

      Sharpness - Default is 0 but may be + or -

    Sony CyberShot DSC-M2

    Macro (close-up) focus mode allows you to shoot much closer than normal. The focus range in macro is from 3.25 inches to infinity. Not close enough? Use the Magnifying Glass Mode to get as close as 0.4 inches (1 cm) for up to 3.5x life size images!

    Sony DSC-M2

    Record motion video with audio. The 640x480 mode is 30fps; other choices are 320x240 at 30fps and 320x240 at 15fps. Movies are recorded by depressing the MOVIE button; a switch under the MOVIE button selects a recording time of 5 seconds or continuous, with length of recording limited only by the space available on the installed Memory Stick.

    Memory Stick Capacities (approx.)

    Sony DSC-M2

    Sony DSC-M2

    The M2's Hybrid shooting mode is entered with the HYBRID switch under the PHOTO button. The LCD viewfinder will begin blinking a movie icon on top of the still image indicator, and reduce the number of recordable images on the Memory Stick, accounting for the memory needed to record both a still image and a movie. In hybrid more, the M2 continuously buffers 5 seconds of 320x240 moving image with sound at 15 fps. When the PHOTO shutter button is depressed, the M2 captures a still image as a JPEG, and concurrently saves the previous 5 seconds of moving image as an MP4 file; the M2 will continue to record another 3 seconds of moving image after the still capture if the Hybrid Rec is set to Normal in the setup menu, or stop recording the movie if Hybrid Rec is set to Pre Rec. The movie's audio track will contain camera sounds, including beep (if enabled) and shutter. The still image capture interrupts the movie for about 3 seconds in Normal mode.

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